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Statement on Continuing Conflict in Sri Lanka

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
________________________________________________________________________
For immediate release                                                      April 24, 2009

Statement on Continuing Conflict in Sri Lanka
The United States is deeply concerned about the plight of innocent civilians caught up in the conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers, and the mounting death toll.  We call on both sides to stop fighting immediately and allow civilians to safely leave the combat zone.
We call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to stop shelling the "safe zone" and blocking international aid groups and media from accessing those civilians who have managed to escape.  International aid workers should have access to all sites where internally displaced persons are being registered and sheltered.  The United States is working with international partners to attempt to care for those civilians who can be reached.
We call on both sides to strictly adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law. We are very concerned about reports of violations, and take these allegations very seriously.
It would compound the current tragedy if the military end of the conflict only breeds further enmity and ends hopes for reconciliation and a unified Sri Lanka in the future.